The Russian army announced on Friday that it had sent reinforcements to Ukraine’s Kharkiv region in response to what appeared to be a successful breakthrough by Kyiv forces in this border area of Russia.
Kyiv said Thursday that it had reclaimed around 1,000 km2 in the region of north-eastern Ukraine in recent days, specifically the town of Balakliïa and some twenty settlements. “It’s difficult, but we’re making progress,” Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Army Valery Zalouzhny told Telegram.
In the village of Garkove, near Kharkiv, which was recaptured by Russian forces two days ago, AFP journalists on Friday saw destruction showing the violence of the fighting, while police continued to exhume two bodies, possible victims of a Russian war crime .
“It was scary, there were shells and explosions everywhere,” Anatoly Vasiliev, 61, one of the few residents who stayed in Garkove, told AFP.
Despite the territorial gains made by Ukrainian forces, Kharkiv region governor Oleg Sinegoubov urged residents who left not to return due to a lack of electricity or gas in the villages recaptured from the Russians.
For their part, the Russian media reported on the deployment of reinforcements in this direction, broadcasting videos showing armored vehicles, howitzers and trucks driving in large numbers on non-geolocated roads. Moscow did not comment on this operation and was content to cite, as it does every day, the heavy losses that the Russian army had inflicted on the Ukrainians.
From Brussels, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Moscow’s deployment of reinforcements shows that Russia is paying “an enormous price”.
In a sign of Ukraine’s advance, pro-Russian authorities in the region’s occupied territories announced on Friday that they would evacuate residents to other areas under Moscow control or to Russia.
A senior official in Russia’s occupation administration, Vitali Gantchev, told Russia’s Rossiya 24 TV channel on Friday that “bitter fighting” was ongoing around the town of Balaklya, which Kyiv retook on Thursday.
“We no longer control Balakliya. Attempts to drive out Ukrainian forces are underway, but fighting there is fierce and our troops are being held up on the outskirts of the city,” he said.
According to him, fighting is also taking place near the town of Chevtchenkové, which is still in the Kharkiv region. “Ukrainian forces are trying to break through the defenses. Reserves from Russia were sent there, our troops are fighting back,” he added.
In its evening report, the Ukrainian army assured its side that it was inflicting “significant casualties” on the enemy and said it noticed a demoralization of Russian troops.
Power outage in Zaporizhia
For its part, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported a “total blackout” in the Ukrainian city of Energodar, where the Zaporijia nuclear power plant is located, a situation that “endangers operational safety.”
In addition to the breakthrough in that region, Kyiv on Thursday claimed a string of successes in the south and east, claiming to have regained territories and many localities.
If consolidated, these Ukrainian gains will be the largest for Ukraine since the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv area in late March.
On his trip to Prague, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hailed Ukraine’s recent achievements, noting that Western weapons such as US HIMARS could be used to “change the dynamics on the battlefield”. “We’re now seeing achievements in Kherson (south), achievements in Kharkiv, and it’s all very, very encouraging,” he said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Brussels for a meeting with NATO, where he wants to insist on the “unity” of the organization’s members to “ensure our alliance is as strong as possible to deter Russia from further aggression.” .
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats/afp
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